BY RUSSELL HIXSON - Energy giant Kinder Morgan doesn't need the City of Burnaby's permission to survey lands for a proposed pipeline expansion, the National Energy Board (NEB) has ruled.
Kinder Morgan submitted a request to the board to confirm its rights to access three kilometres of City of Burnaby lands for surveying and examination.
"It would not be logical that the board be required to recommend approval or denial of a project without all necessary information before it," the board said in its decision.
"This would not be in the public interest."
Kinder Morgan plans to look at Burnaby mountain as a possible location for its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
The City of Burnaby has fought against the expansion, launching a constitutional challenge stating the proposed route construction would go against municipal bylaws by disturbing a conservation area. The board also dismissed this challenge in its decision.
"As for the next steps, that's really up to the company and the City of Burnaby," said NEB communications officer Sarah Kiley.
She also noted that Kinder Morgan doesn't need an order to access lands and has not sought one.
The city could ask the NEB to review this ruling or pursue some other form of legal action, Kiley said.
Kinder Morgan has not indicated whether or not they will continue to work with the city or will move forward with their surveys and studies.
"It remains to be seen what the next steps will be in this particular issue," she said.
The NEB will be travelling to Edmonton next week to hear oral Aboriginal traditional evidence on the Trans Mountain project. There will be more hearing sessions in the fall with other Aboriginal intervenors.
In September, the NEB will be opening a second application to participate in the process for those groups and individuals, who may be directly affected or have expertise to share regarding Trans Mountain's new preferred corridor through Burnaby Mountain.
The Trans Mountain Pipeline moves product from Edmonton, Alberta, to marketing terminals and refineries in the central British Columbia region, the Greater Vancouver area and the Puget Sound area in Washington state, as well as to other markets such as California, the U.S. Gulf Coast and overseas through the Westridge marine terminal located in Burnaby. Only crude oil and condensates are shipped into the United States.
The Burnaby terminal is the terminus of the mainline. It receives both crude oil and refined products for temporary storage and distribution through separate pipelines to local terminals, a refinery and the Westridge marine terminal.
The Burnaby terminal has 13 storage tanks with an overall volume of 250 000 cubic metres.
The proposed expansion, if approved, would create a twinned pipeline that would increase the nominal capacity of the system from 300,000 barrels per day, to 890,000 barrels per day. The $5.4 billion project would add nearly 1,000 kilometres of new pipeline, reactivate 193 km of pipeline, add 12 new pump stations and bolster the Burnaby station with 14 new tanks.
The proposed line would carry heavier oils with the capability of pumping light crude as well.